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NEW YORK — Monster Worldwide Inc., parent of the world’s largest job search site, said Monday that former Chief Executive Andrew J. McKelvey has resigned from its board after refusing to be interviewed about the company’s past stock options practices. A board committee conducting an internal investigation had sought to interview him further following a meeting in July. Monster also has received a subpoena from the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York over stock options. McKelvey, who is 71, is the latest casualty in a widening scandal over the accounting of past options grants. In all, at least 135 U.S. companies have disclosed internal inquiries or government investigations and at least 39 executives and board directors at 19 companies have been fired or resigned. McKelvey’s resignation comes weeks after he stepped down from the posts of chairman and chief executive on Oct. 9. At that time, he retained a board seat and was named as a chairman emeritus. Other top executives who have recently resigned over options investigations include: UnitedHealth Group Inc. founder William McGuire, KLA-Tencor Corp. Chairman Kenneth Levy, CNET Networks Inc. Chief Executive Shelby Bonnie and McAfee Inc. CEO George Samenuk. Monster issued a statement Monday disclosing that, through a lawyer, McKelvey declined to be interviewed by a special committee of the board in a meeting that had been set for Monday. He also would not assure the board that he would appear at a later date. A lawyer for McKelvey wrote in a letter that the former executive refused to meet because he did not have sufficient time to review the facts of what had happened over the course of several years. Attorney Steven Reich also clarified answers McKelvey gave in a July meeting, arguing that McKelvey did not know backdating was illegal. “He did not understand that it was improper for the exercise price of stock to be different than the price on the grant dates, nor did he understand there were legal or accounting implications associated with that difference,” Reich wrote in the letter. The company’s ongoing internal investigation had also delayed the release of its latest quarterly earnings results and led to the suspension of Myron Olesnyckyj, who was senior vice president, general counsel and secretary for the company.

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